In an expensive, unnecessary and politically damaging recall election that culminates on Sept. 10, Colorado Senate President John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, will either be confirmed in office for one more year or recalled.

If the recall fails, we’re back to status quo ante. Democrats will still control the both houses of the Legislature. John Hickenlooper will still be Colorado’s governor.

If the recall succeeds, only one thing will change. Bernie Herpin will take Morse’s seat representing Senate District 11 during the 2014 legislative session.

[pullquote]I would not want to be a Colorado Springs Republican during the 2014 session, much less a lobbyist representing local interests.[/pullquote]So who loses, and who wins? The answer may surprise you.

Remember the famous opening sentence of Edgar Allan Poe’s riveting story of revenge, “The Cask of Amontillado?”

“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge.”

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Like Poe’s protagonist, politicians remember slights, and they delight in getting even.

Colorado Republicans have suffered many injuries in recent years, as the blue Democratic wave crashed across the state. Ten years ago, Republicans controlled both houses of the Legislature and held both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats. The popular second-term Gov. Bill Owens drew support from across the political spectrum, while dispirited Dems struggled for traction.

We all know what happened next. Thanks to fate, hubris or sheer incompetence, Republicans moved sharply to the right, ceding the moderate center to the Democrats. The Donksters reacted quickly and intelligently, choosing attractive moderates such as Mark Udall, Michael Bennet and Hickenlooper to run against gun-toting, gay-baiting ideologues of the right.

In the normal ebb and flow of politics, you’d expect Republicans to move back to the center as emboldened Dems moved farther to the left. The Dems moved to the left, all right — and that journey was mapped out in part by the doughty Sen. Morse.

The original package of firearms regulations brought forth in the last session included a bill sponsored by Morse making firearms manufacturers liable for the misuse of their products. Reasonable as that may sound to non-gun owners, that bill would have essentially banned the sale of new guns in Colorado.

Even Morse’s caucus couldn’t swallow that one. The bill died, but three other gun control measures passed.

Smart politics called for Republicans to reclaim the center, to concentrate their fire upon the out-of-control lib’ruls who wanted to absolutely ban gun sales in Colorado. Instead, the Gopsters ceded control of the political process to revenge-minded Colorado Springs gun owners and the National Rifle Association, who initiated the recall process.

If the polls are any guide, voters statewide don’t much care for the recall process, even if they disapprove of some of the gun-control legislation enacted in the last session.

If Morse is tossed out, Republicans, gunnies and the NRA will have their revenge, but Democrats may have the win.

Will they punish Colorado Springs voters for throwing out Morse?

Will the Interstate 25/Cimarron interchange move forward, or will it be inexplicably delayed? Will the city’s “City for Champions” proposal fail to pass muster with the state Economic Development Commission? Will Colorado Springs be subtly shortchanged in next year’s budget? The power of the Legislature to materially affect any of the three is very limited, so don’t worry.

But legislative power can be effectively exercised by doing nothing.

I would not want to be a Colorado Springs Republican during the 2014 session, much less a lobbyist representing local interests. The amiable Herpin would be a legislative pariah, whose name on any bill would guarantee its defeat.

Herpin won’t be alone. We can expect many bills introduced by Springs Republicans to die in committee, and the legislative clout of the El Paso County delegation to wither. But it’ll be a quiet process, an insider game where the guilty leave no fingerprints.

Democrats will be focused on a much larger goal. They want to hold the moderate center and caricature Colorado Republican leadership as crazy old white guys taking orders from the NRA. Ironically, a successful recall election might hurt Republicans by legitimizing and emboldening fringe Republican candidates in 2014.

We all saw how well that worked in recent elections, didn’t we? Just ask Dan Maes, Tom Tancredo or Ken Buck.

The conclusion may be counterintuitive, but it seems obvious: Republicans ought to oppose, and Democrats ought to support the Morse recall. And Bernie, do you really want to spend a long, cold winter twiddling your thumbs in Denver? Vote for Morse!


  1. I’m all for gun control and do not own any guns, but I do have to say that this section:

    “The original package of firearms regulations brought forth in the last session included a bill sponsored by Morse making firearms manufacturers liable for the misuse of their products. Reasonable as that may sound to non-gun owners, that bill would have essentially banned the sale of new guns in Colorado.”

    Is nonsense. That doesn’t sound reasonable at all, and in fact sounds like a terrible idea. There are already far too many people failing to take responsibility for their own actions without a law enforcing that idea. While I do think that the whole “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” thing is a vast over-simplification of the issue, there is a core of truth there – guns are a tool meant for killing people, but they can’t fire themselves. Why should a manufacturer be forced to take responsibility for how somebody uses their product, especially when those people know that misusing it is a criminal offense?

  2. This is it folks. The anti-gun people will put lies on this page but here are the facts.NY Mayor Billionaire Bloomberg contacted Hickenlooper when they were debating the gun bills. Bloomberg is worth $27,000,000,000 more than all Wal-Mart profits for last year which were $23,000,000,000. Bloomberg and Billionaire Eli Broad from California gave $600,000 the save Morse. All the Colorado sheriffs were aganist these gun bills.55 out of 62 sheriffs are suing Morse and the state to overturn these laws because they say they only attack the law abiding citizen. The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association edorsed Bernie Herpin and said Morse was “out of touch” and “abysmal on public safety.” They said Morse was”an unpopular officer that “resigned” from the Colorado Springs Police Department”. These are the officers that worked with him and knew him. They were like family and they say to recall him! The Morse people have over over 10 times the money the recall people have. The Morse people have over 10 times the amount of TV ads then the recall people have. This money has come from the rich in other states that want to ban your guns. The states that this money is coming from have banned guns and put so many restrictions in that only attack the law abiding gunowner. Like in New York they had a limit of 10 round mags but after the Newtown shooting they went to 7 rounds. As you can see a few more shooting and they will go to 3 rounds. In California they banned semi-auto rifles because of the way they looked and not the way they function. From my following this issue for 25 years I can tell you they are after all guns. This is not even about Democrat or Republican but this is about Democrats in Colorado that were bought by Billionaires in other anti-gun states. Get out and recall the hand puppets of Billionaire Bloomberg. Morse!

  3. The elitist, big-government author of this article misses the point of the recall. It is hard for him to conceive of a reality apart from massive political machinations and erudite citations of great literary works. We saw some of the same kind of critiques written by British tyrants over 200 years ago about “the Colonies”, when they could not conceive of how the Colonies could think their petty, squabbling rebellions could stand in the face of the Great Empire. ’nuff said.

  4. For those who are wary of Bernie Herpin, you can always write in the Libertarian candidate Jan Brooks.

    I’m also laughing with the other commenters here on this blustery poo pooing of the recall. This is a grassroots led retribution for diminishing the rights of Coloradans to protect themselves, with the GOP jumping on board AFTER THE FACT.

  5. Since the acquisition of the Colorado Springs Business Journal from the Colorado Springs Independent, it is quite easy to tell that the liberal, nonsensical mentality of the latter paper is now bleeding over to the editorial sections of the CSBJ. How the mighty have truly fallen. Stick to what you’re good at Indy Business Journal – local non-profit start ups.

  6. The CSBJ has shown it’s true colors with this article. Of course they don’t support the recall. I think the recall is needed, just based on the gun control laws they want to pass. The laws will do nothing to stop mass shootings by crazy people and criminals. All they would do is keep law abiding citizens from purchasing them and using them for legal activities: hunting, self protection, target shoot, etc.

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